The Church of England, which earlier this year approved women bishops in a historic vote, has signaled its strong commitment to tackling gender-based violence both in the church and across all levels of society.
"Gender-based violence is one of the greatest injustices in our world today. Every time an act of violence is committed, the inherent dignity of the women or girl affected is degraded. Having seen the after-effects of this violence during a recent visit to the DRC, I know all too well just how destructive it can be. The Church is already supporting and caring for those affected; it must continue in that work and must condemn the notion that such violence is ever acceptable," the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said in a statement.
He added that the Church "cannot pretend that we are not aware of the reality of gender-based violence." more >>
A top European Union leader said Saturday that new sanctions are likely be proposed "within a week" against Russia because of its incursion into Ukraine, whose president has warned that the conflict might turn into a full-scale war if action is not taken soon.
"The European Council says that it stands ready to take further significant steps in the light of the evolution of the situation on the ground and it requests the commission to urgently undertake preparatory work ... and present proposals for consideration within a week," European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said at an EU Summit in Brussels, Belgium, according to CNN.
On Saturday, leaders of Germany and France also stressed the need for tighter sanctions against Moscow. more >>
An appeals court in Germany has ruled that a family court's decision to keep legal custody of four children away from their parents, Dirk and Petra Wunderlich, was wrong, and ordered that complete custody be returned to the family. However, the court maintained that homeschooling endangers children and they should go to school.
"We have won custody and we are glad about that," Dirk said in a statement released by Virginia-based Home School Legal Defense Association, which has been assisting the Wunderlich family since their children were taken on Aug. 29, 2013.
The court said taking the children away was not proportionate, but only because the authorities should instead impose heavy fines and proceed with criminal prosecution. "This decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority." more >>
In Great Britain, the Liberal Democrat party is proposing that "age appropriate" sex education classes be introduced to include internet porn and social media for students as young as seven years old.
The party wants to implement new courses that address sites and apps like Twitter and Snapchat, which can contain sexually explicit material. The party says it wants to avoid "extreme" subjects and make the courses age appropriate.
"We're not saying as politicians children should be taught XYZ or ABC, as we're not the policy experts," Spokesman Ben Rothe said, according to the UK Mirror. "We're not saying children should be learning how to put condoms on or what an STI is - it will be age appropriate." more >>
Amid severe international criticism for Russia's incursion into Ukraine and ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Wales for a NATO summit and to Estonia next week, President Vladimir Putin warned "it is better not to come against Russia" as it is "one of the most powerful nuclear nations."
"I want to say immediately that Russia is far from getting involved into any large-scale conflicts. We do not want and do not intend to do this," state-run Itar-Tass quoted Putin as telling a group of youngsters in central Russia Friday.
"I want to remind you that Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations. This is a reality, not just words," Putin went on to say. "We are strengthening our nuclear deterrence forces and our armed forces. They are getting more compact and more efficient at the same time. They are getting more modernized in terms of their supply with the latest armaments. We continue building up this potential and we'll be doing this in the future," Putin said. more >>
Atheist author Richard Dawkins has further clarified his highly controversial recent comments that it would be "immoral" not to abort a baby with Down syndrome, by stating that if he had such a child, he would "love her dearly." He argued that this does not change the fact, however, that he believes aborting such a child would still be the right choice.
"I have not the slightest doubt that, if I had a Down child, I would love her dearly. If I believed in God, I'd probably thank God she wasn't aborted, and I would sincerely mean it and deeply feel it. But that is a judgment in hindsight, and it is totally compatible with a statement that, if offered a similar choice now, I would be in favor of abortion. Totally compatible with a belief that abortion would be the right decision, in circumstances where such a decision was available," the evolutionary biologist said in a message on his website.
He further argued that "the child that you now love is a person. You have grown to adore her every smile, her every facial expression, everything that makes her the individual personality that she is. The bundle of cells she once was had no personality at the time when she might have been aborted. There was nothing to love there at that time." more >>